Previously on The Sampling Drum Machine Story: although I've never been asked to review an Akai MPC unit before, I have extensive (if vicarious) experience of their use, as two of my musical collaborators have been keen MPC60 and MPC2000 users. The fact that both of these chaps started their musical careers as drummers attests to the success of Roger Linn's concept for a sequencer, which also addressed the special needs of sampled percussion programming. Indeed, several A&R people who heard songs we'd recorded using the MPC asked who the drummers on the tracks were. (As I was trying to present the project as a band, I gave the names of the drummers who had programmed the MPCs -- although, as we never got signed, perhaps it wasn't that much of a compliment after all!)

The concept of combining MIDI sequencing and sampled percussion was originally enshrined in the Linn 9000 some 12 years ago, and some might suggest that it was this product -- or its high price tag -- that put Linn Electronics out of business. Those of you who were out of short trousers in 1985 may remember a somewhat scathing Linn 9000 review of mine, from which the phrase "dinosaur extinct before its release" became a particular thorn in the side of Kevin Kent, whose job at Linn was to sell them. My principal complaint about the 9000, apart from the fact that it would only hold four very short samples, was that there was no looping ability, which meant that the short playback time couldn't be extended for cymbals and other longer percussion sounds.

This 'percussion doesn't need looping' stance was maintained on the three Akai MPC units that carried Roger's name, the MPC60, MPC60 MkII and MPC2000. In fairness to those units, I should say that they did have much longer sample times than the 9000, and these could also be further expanded in the case of the later models. What's more, my two percussive colleagues swear that they don't miss the looping capability, not even in these days of ubiquitous sampled drum loops --which you should always re-trigger via a new sequence note every time they loop, because that way you stay in sync with everything else. But I always favoured the approach to percussion looping of the Studio 440 from Sequential Circuits (who also went out of business, so obviously it's not a company-saving feature), just because it allowed you to go beyond straightforward percussion sounds and cover more musical sounds (apologies to any drummers left out there!). Ever since I sold my Studio 440 almost 10 years ago, I've been waiting for someone else to do looping on a percussion sampler/sequencer.
LOOPING THE LOOP

So imagine my joy when, as I was leafing through the MPC2000 manual, a Looping screen caught my eye. Yes, folks: it slices, it dices... it loops! Suddenly my interest went from academic to personal. Having been considering purchasing a QY700 for live use after reviewing it last October, I'd found the supply of them so scarce that I had already started to look around for a substitute; if this unit could also use looped samples then it might be the one for me -- and 200 extra is not a lot to pay for a 16-bit looping sampler section inside a sequencer.

I trust you will forgive the impetuousness of your humble reviewer if I pursue this line (instead of the conventional 'this is what the box looks like', 'how you make a sample' and so on), but I feel that I may not be be alone in having been put off previous MPCs by their lack of looping. A little more detective work in the manual -- the list of expansion options, to be precise -- reveals that it has many things in common with Akai's S2000 sampler, and it therefore seems that the MPC has inherited its looping ability from its sampler cousin rather than from any dormant MPC gene. You might argue that this could be deduced from the shared numbering, but the similarities are much greater than between the S3000 sampler and its MPC numbersake. Not only does it use all SIMMs for memory expansion up to 32Mb (as opposed to the MPC3000's half-and-half approach of one 8Mb Akai board plus one SIMM), but it also has back-panel slots for the IB-M208P board (eight outs plus SPDIF) and the IB-M20T SMPTE board, and, internally, slots for the FMX008M Flash ROM and EB16 DSP effects boards -- so, all in all, it's perhaps not surprising that, like the S2000, it loops as well! Nevertheless, this is still a major innovation for the MPC and I for one intend to celebrate it.


"It seems that the MPC has inherited its looping ability from its sampler cousin rather than from any dormant MPC gene."



What's more, although the loop can be set to the start and end points of the sample -- which would be useful if you were dealing with sampled drum loops -- it doesn't have to be. The sample can actually be set to loop from the middle to avoid a repeated attack transient, and then to play to the end once the triggering pad or MIDI note has been released. Through velocity interaction with volume and filter envelopes, much more complex sounds can be created than have been possible on any previous MPC.

As a result, the MPC2000 can make much more sense out of the majority of S1000 and S3000 samples than its predecessors, which could load them but then only play them back as one-shots (see the sidebar 'MPC/S 3000/1000 Disk Compatibility'). However, the MPC envelopes remain fairly primitive, as they are still designed primarily for percussion sounds, with just attack and decay values and the ability to decide whether the decay starts immediately after the attack finishes, or in time for the end of the sample (or when the key or pad is released, if the sample is looped). But this is still just about enough for standard envelopes such as piano, strings and brass, which have not been possible on an MPC before. It won't replace a general-purpose sampler for all sounds, but it dramatically increases the range of tasks the MPC can be used for. The only little annoyance this looping facility brings out is that parameters such as filter frequency are still not updated until you re-trigger the sound (when you couldn't loop sounds you never really noticed this, as you had to keep re-triggering anyway!).

Of course, the way that sounds are assigned to pads or MIDI note numbers means that there's no way to trigger a sample at different pitches via different incoming MIDI note numbers from an attached keyboard; each sample can only be associated with one MIDI note number -- so grand pianos or sweeping string sections are ruled out anyway. The main advantages of the looping are that cymbals need not take up so much memory and that you can cycle drum loops if you want to. And talking of drum loops (smarmy DJ-style link)...
LOOP TEMPO SYNC'ING

Another great looping-related feature I discovered when leafing through the manual (sometimes it really pays to get that tome out and at least skip-read it) was the MPC2000's Beat Loop Function. This, I suspect, comes courtesy of another strain of Akai sampler, the Remix 16. What this function allows you to do is to match the tempos of unrelated loops. You set the length of the drum loop in beats and it instantly tells you what the tempo is. Then, as you tune the loop up or down, the New Tempo readout tells you what you are changing the tempo to. This means that you can take half a dozen loops and use them together by adjusting their tempos to be the same in this page. Of course, the pitches of the loops are changed by this tune process (no miracles with time stretch yet!), but if you take loops of roughly similar tempi, their sound shouldn't suffer too much. Things only get really strange when you start changing the pitch sounds over a fifth -- which is more than half as fast again, or slow -- but then some people really like what drastic re-tunings do to a sound.

I'd never seen anything like this feature on a hardware sampler before (although numerous software-based products have similar features). It's accessed via the Open Window button, a new facility on the MPC2000 which helps to make up for the fact that the backlit LCD is a lot smaller than on previous MPCs. Basically, the way it works is that whenever you are in an area (filter or envelope, say) on the screen and you think that there aren't enough parameters, you click on the Open Window button and a set of extra parameters appears in a new window -- just as on a WIMP computer. It pays to know the function of this button, as it gives access to more than half the parameters available on the unit, so if you didn't know about it, you might think the MPC2000 a lot less programmable than it actually is. Another good reason to be a sad person like me and read manuals in the wee small hours when you are suffering from insomnia!
COSMETICS

Now I've told about my favourite new features on the MPC2000, I suppose we'd better get back to the boring stuff. Lazy bounders like me will be pleased to know that the unit weighs considerably less than its predecessors (isn't circuit integration a wonderful thing?) and is considerably more compact in size. The reduction in the number of buttons has been compensated for by the addition of a Shift key -- which makes the numeric key-pad also available for selecting the various modes -- and the Open Window button mentioned above. As the numeric buttons are already performing two functions, the Akai engineers have relieved them of the task of naming things as well; this now becomes a sub-function of the pads. It feels a little strange for AB to be at the bottom and YZ at the top, but this is nowhere near as confusing as when the transport functions used to double as letter keys on the older MPC machines.

The pads are still laid out in a 4x4 configuration (does this make MPCs off-road vehicles?) but they have now moved to the right-hand side of the machine. I tried to work out whether this favoured left- or right-handed people but came to no real conclusions, so let's call this an alternative arrangement. The only people I think it will affect are those who can program MPC3000s in their sleep, but they have plenty of other new stuff to throw them anyway, so I doubt this will add to their troubles unduly.

The MPC2000's back panel is somewhat lighter on connections. Some of these are only temporary absences, with the holes for the eight parallel output/SPDIF connectors and SMPTE sockets ready and waiting. Others are permanent, such as the MIDI Ins and Outs, which are limited to two on this unit -- the same as on the Yamaha QY700, which is at a similar price point. While this is obviously a cost-cutting feature (and we haven't really discussed yet how much cheaper than its predecessors the MPC2000 is), it is a real shame that there's no expansion option to increase the number of MIDI Outs. Still, as the MPC3000 is not being discontinued, it will, I suppose, need something to justify its considerably higher price tag -- just over double the RRP. Whether people will still continue to pay the price for it when they can't get the digital I/O, DSP effects or Flash ROM, remains to be seen.
ON THE SEQUENCING SIDE

Here things are virtually identical to previous MPC units -- just a few buttons moved around and re-assigned -- probably because those who have followed this method of sequencing would not accept any changes to their basic working method. On the Main screen you still assign a track to either DRUM or MIDI (sequencing internal or external sounds respectively) and to one of 32 MIDI channel numbers which are in the format 10A or 6B. Because there are only two MIDI Ins and Outs, the other 32 channels via C and D, which the MPC3000 had, are gone.


"Much more complex sounds can be created than have been possible on any previous MPC."



Tracks can be edited note by note in a Step Edit screen which looks just like the List Editor in most software packages, except that only four events can be viewed at once because of the small screen. However, the View parameter means that you can make the most of these four events by excluding or selecting just Notes, Pitch Bend, and other controller information, Channel or Poly Pressure, Tempo Change or System Exclusive Events. If you are used to editing in this way, it's just like any other comparable system in terms of speed and accuracy. A handy Play Soft Key allows you to check any event as you are editing it.

The Edit screen's name is a little misleading, as this is where you copy bars or events rather than changing the actual events (although this may be what some people understand by editing). Some rather clever icons help with this copying business, so it's less easy to make a fatal error when you're moving phrases around.
DISK MATTERS

Similar icons are used to show what type of disk you're loading from -- 2D, HD floppies and Hard Disk, Magneto-Optical or CD-ROM SCSI drives -- and where you are sending the data (to a cute little MPC2000 icon or the ubiquitous trash can). A Type field identifies the source disk, as in MPC2000, MPC3000, S3000 or S1000, MS-DOS or unknown ('????') format. For comments on the success of loading these different formats, see the sidebar on disk compatibility. The same View field as in the Step Edit page allows you to single out the type of file you want to load, so you don't have to scroll through unwanted file types. Loading sounds in the MPC2000 format was very quick from both floppy and SCSI devices; once the sound is loaded you can listen to it, then assign it to a pad/MIDI note number or delete it. Loading was so fast that this was almost as good as the 'audition from disk' feature that some samplers now have.
CONCLUSION

Overall, the sound of the MPC2000 is excellent, belying its new cheaper price tag in exactly the same way as the S2000 does. Clearly, these days sound quality is not a function of price as it was a few years back: cost savings are now made in terms of inputs/outputs and other options, and most of these can be added slowly as the user's needs increase -- and many of them, such as Flash ROM and DSP effects, will be making their appearance for the first time ever on a sampling drum machine/sequencer when the software upgrade which supports them becomes available. The nice thing about this is that someone with only 1199 to spend is no longer penalised for that by getting stuck with a machine that will never get any better -- indeed, the only people who may feel a little peeved are the MPC3000 owners who can't get all these splendid upgrades.

I dislike machines that rely on floppy disk operating systems on principle (would you want your brain to be carried around in a vulnerable external form?) but the MPC2000's can be copied onto a SCSI hard drive for booting, so this isn't too much of a problem. Maybe when the Flash ROM support comes it will possible to store the operating system in that, which would be the best of all possible worlds. Until then, SCSI drive seems the best bet; and, of course, you can use it for sound and sequence storage as well, especially if you end up expanding the memory to any great extent.

The size of display is perhaps the S2000's only serious disadvantage, but it never really left me feeling uninformed, mainly because of the clever View options and the Open Window button which, once I had discovered its function, always brought a pleasant surprise to the screen in terms of extra parameters to play with.

Whether the additional sample parameters are enough for my needs I have yet to decide, but this MPC is definitely more my sort of thing than the previous ones, not least because of its price point and upgrade options -- a real advance on an established formula.



KIT CRISIS

One major source of disappointment is the CD-ROM supplied with the MPC2000 -- not that it isn't full of excellent sounds, but each one has to be loaded individually. I was unable to find the program that loads a whole kit, a PGM file, even on the partition entitled Kits. Maybe I was doing something wrong, although I did check that I had it set to View All. Still, there is a huge range of sounds, all neatly divided into the partitions of different percussion sounds (Kicks, Snares, Toms, Hi Hats, and so on) so I guess it wouldn't take long to create your own custom kits.

MPC/S 3000/1000 DISK COMPATIBILITY

To try to evaluate just how useful the MPC2000 would be to anyone with an existing MPC3000 or S-series library, I am indebted to two friends, James Asher and Martyn Phillips, who put their libraries and studios (and in James' case, his stopwatch as well) at my disposal to check compatibility.

Beginning with some of James' MPC3000 banks on Syquest, we did comparative loads. A bank that took 25 seconds to load on the MPC3000 that created it took a leisurely 2 minutes 12 seconds to load into the MPC2000 -- presumably due to the need to convert the data into a different format. However, when we tried the same experiment from floppy, a bank that had taken 1 minute 2 seconds to load into the MPC3000 loaded into the MPC2000 in just 44 seconds. "Curiouser and curiouser," said Alice. So either the basic Syquest format must be different or the floppy drive in the 2000 is much faster; either way, anyone changing to the MPC2000 will want to re-save their SCSI banks to speed up loading times (which in itself could be a mammoth task if there's a lot of data), but if they have everything on floppy then they'll be laughing.

Comparing the actual sound of the two machines, we found that there really wasn't any discernible difference, but on checking the sequence side of things, we discovered that, although the individual MPC3000 sequences had loaded into the MPC2000, the Songs were empty. I contacted Akai UK about this and they tried to get an answer from Japan but we were right up against the editorial deadline. I'm fairly sure this is a minor bug and you would still be able to reconstruct the structure of your Song, but MPC3000 owners who are looking to replace their machines with 2000s might do well to wait until this is sorted out. The date on the software supplied with the review unit is 24 December 1996, so it's clear what happened: they didn't get a chance to do the song data interpreter before the Christmas party started! The New Year software release should have trickled through by the time you read this, and should be able to pick up the Song data as well as the Sequence data.

Of course, this problem will only affect the few people who have recorded Songs on the 3000 which they would like to play back on the 2000. The majority of MPC2000 purchasers will just want to know that they can access all the MPC3000's library sounds, which is definitely possible. Those with a propensity for the sound of glorious 12-bit may want to use MPC60 sounds, so we gave that a try. "Divide by Zero Error!" was the glorious error message we received when trying to load sounds from MPC60 disks (if you divide things by zero, doesn't that give you infinity? [Yup. Sub-Ed.]). However, Graham at Akai tells me that this is not due to be supported until the next software release, so it's not surprising that we couldn't get those sounds to load, although it did recognise files on the disk.

I had a lot more success round at Martyn's with S1000 and S3000 sounds. Not only did they all load fine from floppy, but the loops all loaded as well, making a lot more sense out of pitched instrument samples. Our SCSI loads were less successful, as the MPC2000's SCSI ID cannot be changed from 6 and we didn't have a terminator to try it on its own (time was running out) -- but these are standard SCSI problems and not exclusive to the MPC. It would be nice to have a way to change the MPC's SCSI ID, though.

Overall, I am fairly confident that Akai will soon have the 90% compatibility that's there extended to the full 100%. It's only the inordinately long SCSI load times for MPC3000 data that might continue to cause a problem, and might necessitate re-saving the entire library in MPC2000 format. But it is possible that even this can be speeded up -- and floppy disk users will be saving time.

pros & cons
AKAI MPC2000 1199

pros
Excellent price/performance ratio.
Looping now available again on a sampling percussion box.
Has most of the capabilities of its more expensive forebears.
SIMMs provide low-cost memory expansion to 32Mb.
Eight Outs and SPDIF I/O expansion board available now.
Reads MPC3000, S1000 and S3000 sound libraries and MPC3000 sequences.
Software support for existing SMPTE and DSP effects boards and MPC60 disks to come.

cons
No way to expand on the two MIDI Outputs.
No transposing keyboard mapping of internal sounds.
Program parameters not updated until sound is re-triggered.
Operating system can only be read from floppy or hard disk, not ROM.

summary
At this price point, you couldn't really have argued with a lower spec
than Akai have managed to deliver. As it is, the MPC2000 is phenomenal
value for money, even discounting the upgrade potential for cheap SIMMs,
extra outs, digital I/O, SMPTE and internal DSP effects.

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Price Paid: US $600. used

Ease of Use: 10
1.72 Is the version Im using. The presets are horrible what do you expect. The MPC is really cool because it doesn't put you in a box. The MPC will do whateva you ask it too. All function are pretty easy and the more you're willin to work on your skill the better the machine is. I like others have had it for sometime and my display is rapidly fading. The only real problem is the external drive set-up. There's no USB (except on the 1000) and the scsi cable is parrallel. So Im having alot of trouble finding an external drive that will work. Yes I would buy again easy to use and a great sound. Plus nothing beats the ease of the sequencer. If anyone knows of an external drive that works please email me at emmit630@yahoo.com

Features: 5
Some have effects I really dont care for them I use effects thru the board

Expressiveness/Sounds: N/A
You're better off making your own samples or you could end up very disappointed. All kinds its a sampler. Effects kinda suck. Good output sound. Velocity and aftertouch right on

Reliability: N/A
Yes very much so. Yes Id use it anywhere.

Customer Support: N/A
Akai is not really a good company to deal with however. Repairs are slow.

Overall Rating: 6


Price Paid: US $1400

Ease of Use: 9
I AM CURENTLY USING 1.0
THE PRESET SOUNDS ARE O.K. BUT YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY A SAMPLER OF ANY KIND FOR THE PRESETS IT WOULD BE BORING IF THE SOUNDS WERE PERFECT.
EDITING PATCHES ISN'T HARD ON AN MPC 2000 BUT IT'S NOT THAT COMPLEX THOUGH I HAVE A KURZWEIL2500 AND I PROGRAM MY SOUNDS THERE YOU CAN'T DO REAL MANGLING ON AN MPC 2000 THE 4000 SOUNDS FULL OF PROMISE THOUGH
THE MANUAL FOR THE MACHINE IS FINE BUT I NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT MANUALS IIF YOU LOOK IN THE RIGHT PLACES IN THE MANUAL YOU WILL FIND WHAT YOU
NEED IT'S A FAIR BOOK.

Features: 7
WELL THE POLYPHONY IS 32-VOICES AND THAT'S FINE BUT YOU CAN'T REALLY CHANGE THE SOUND IN AN MPC-2000 IT'S STRICTLY DRUMS AND IT DOESN'T REALLY HAVE WARMTH. I OPTED FOR NO EFFECTS.YOU CAN ADD THE OUTPUTS, AND YOU CAN ADD EFFECTS BUT I DON'T CARE FOR ON BOARD EFFECTS ALL THAT MUCH ANYWAY, I ADDED MORE MEMORY, ALL STANDARD MIDI CAPABILITIES ARE HERE IT'S COOL I HAVEN'T FOUND A WAY TO HAVE BOTH A AND B SYNCED AT THE SAME TIME THIS CAN BE ANNOYING! THE ON BOARD SEQUENCER IS THE BEST PART ABOUT AN MPC BUT I NOTICED BUGS A FAR A MY SEQUENCER WAS CONCERNED IF YOU QUANITIZE ON IT THE FIRST NOTE IS NOT MOVED I FOUND A WORK AROUND BY NEVER REALLY SETTING MY MPC TO PLAY FROM THE FIRST NOTE STRICLY YOU CAN SET A BEAT THAT COMES IN BUT WILL ONLY PLAY WHEN YOU PRESS PLAY BUT LOOPING ANOTHER SECTION OF THE SONG AND THAT'S A COOL FUNCTION BUG OR NO BUG. THE SEQUENCER IS EASY ENOUGH MY ONLY PROBLEM HAS BEEN TP GET THAT REALLY TIGHT SEQUENCE I HAVE HAD TO USE THE WORK AROUND METHOD WHICH SLOWS ME DOWN A BIT BECAUSE WHEN ADD A SEQUENCE TO IT SELF YOU HAVE TO CUT IT SO THAT THE UNWANTED PARTS DON'T BECOME PART OF THE LOOP THIS CAN BE TERIBLE BUT OVER COME!

Expressiveness/Sounds: 5
I'M NOT THE TYPE OF PRODUCER TO TELL YOU YOU CAN'T GET A GOOD DRUM SOUND OUT OF AN MPC-2000 CAUSE YOU CAN IT'S A MATTER OF KNOWING HOW TO USE CERTAIN TRICKS TO GET THE RIGHT FEEL, CAUSE SOME SAY IT SOUNDS FLAT OR DIGITAL, IT'S NOT A KURZWEIL BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE COMPARED TO IT WILL GIVE YOU SO PRETTY TIGHT DRUMS, BUT THAT'S IT INTERNALY,YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE HOW MUCH RESPOSIVENESS YOU WANT I PRETTY MUCH WANT A SOLID HARD HITTING SOUND WITH LITTLE OR NO VELOCITY CHANGES AT ALL BUT YOU CAN CONTROL THIS FOR SOUNDS INTERNALY AND FOR SEQUENCING IT'S FINE IN THAT RESPECT, YOU CAN'T COMPLAIN, ONE PROBLEM I HAVE HAD IS THIS AND THIS IS THE NORM WHEN YOU USE MOD WHEELS YOU CAN MAKE THE SEQUENCER LOSE TIME, I PURPOSELY DON'T USE MUCH MOD WHEEL FOR THE WAY IT CAN INVITE BAD TIMING TO MY SOUND WHICH I HATE!

Reliability: 9
I HAVE HAD NO REAL PROBLEMS WITH THE MPC, AS FAR AS RELIABILITY
IS COCERNED I TURN IT ON IT WORKS, I HAVE FOUND THAT IF I DO CERTAIN THINGS I CAN ALMOST COUNT ON IT FAILING BUT I DON'T DO THOSE THINGS ANYMORE CAN'T REALLY REMEMBER WHAT I DID THAT MADE IT CRASH BUT I FOLLOWED THE EXACT FORMULA AGAIN AND IT CRASH AGAIN I DECIDED WELL DON'T DO THAT! I WOULD USE IT ON A GIG NO QUESTION WITHOUT A BACKUP BUT IF YOUR DOING A GOOD PAYING GIG I WOULD HAVE A BACKUP FOR GODS TRACKS THAT PERSONAL THOUGH I WON'T FELL YOU FOR THE MOST PART!

Customer Support: 8
I DEALT WITH AKAI THEY WERE COOL! NO REAL PROBLEMS I CAN SAY BUT AS FAR AS THE MPC-2000 NOT RUNNING AS EXPECTED IT HAS NEVER DONE THAT TO THE POINT I NEEDED TO CALL AKAI, I CALLED TO COMPARE THE 2000 AND THE 3000.

Overall Rating: 8
IF SOMEONE STOLE MY MPC-2000 I'M SCREWED PRETTY BAD RIGHT NOW IT'S MY SEQUENCER PERIOD I DON'T USE ANYTHING ELSE TO SEQUENCE AND I HAVE HAD IT FOR FIVE YEARS NOW! I HAVEN'T MADE THAT PLUNGE TO COMPUTER BASED SEQUENCING AND I DON'T KNOW IF I WILL ANY TIME SOON I'M GOING TO GET MY HANDS ON AN MPC-4000 GOD WILLING AND THAT WILL BE IT FOR ANOTHER 4 TO 5 YEARS IT DOES WHAT I EXPECT AND WANT, WITH A FEW MINOR WORKABLE PROBLEMS HERE AND THERE BUT NOTHINGS PERFECT, AS FAR AS COMPARING THE MPC'S TO ANYTHING ELSE NO,! I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT TO HAVE ANYTHING DIFFERENT ITS THE STANDARD IN HIP-HOP LIKE MICROSOFT IS TO COMPUTERS YOU BUY OTHER HARDWARE SEQUENCERS TO BE DIFFERENT BUT NOT SMART, THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GET'S IN HARDWARE YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET A COMPUTER IF YOU CAN STAND THEM!, BUT THIS IS THE HIP-HOP PRODUCTION STANDARD!

Price Paid: US $600.00

Ease of Use: 4
im using version 1.72 with out manuaul u r lost manual u will have to read a couple of times

Features: 10
32 voice very responsive on the key action no built in efx expasion
32mb midi 2 sets of in and out on board sequencer 64 tracks

Expressiveness/Sounds: 8
being a sampler all music is possible reacts well

Reliability: 7
reliable yes

Customer Support: N/A
never called them

Overall Rating: 5
i wouldnt buy it again if it were stolen because i got from a pawnshop
i use to work at i have an old roland w 30 but im trying to see if
which one is best to work with see the mpc is just a sampler with a drum machine put in one so its mostly good for just sampling drum sounds and percussion and also very good phrase sampler if u like jacking for beats but please e mail me at MEHDO@AOL.COM to let me know if anyone knows about the w30 and the mpc which is better because they both are samplers.

Price Paid: 4500 (guilders)

Ease of Use: 9
I bought the MPC 2000 in '97 because I'd played with the MPC 60 and 3000 in some of the studios I used to work for. The 2000 is pretty much the same conceptually, although the sampling engine is a totally different one. I bought it mainly because it works very well for HipHop and R&B jams. It's pads are designed to make you play and think about rhythms differently then you would on a keyboard workstation, which can be a welcome change if you tire occassionally of playing drumparts on a keyboard or program them in your software-sequencer. I use Cubase for most things, but if i need to crank out a big HipHop anthem in a split second, the MPC makes my day. many have said this before, and i will say it again: the MPC concept is still unbeatable when it comes to MIDI-timing. I don't know why and I cannot back this up with actual figures, but use your ears and you will agree. On the downside, it's groove is quite characteristic and might not suit every type of music you want to make. But all in all it is still a very desirable box for those who want to move the crowd. By the way, I've owned mine for four years and the display is now deteriorating more rapidly all the time. going to need to replace it soon, which will run me about $200.

Features: 7
see above.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
The stock sound library is bull. But hey, it is a sampler, so sample.

Reliability: 7
apart from the display as mentioned ( again) above, no problems.

Customer Support: 4
The Akai people in the Netherlands are never going to be my friends.

Overall Rating: 7
I wouldn't buy it again, unless I had money to burn. There really isn't any good reason to buy hardware samplers anymore. The only reasons you want an MPC is the pads and the groove, as mentioned above.


Price Paid: US $1200

Ease of Use: 10
V 1.72. A few rather weak preset sound disks, this baby's made to sample anyway. Editing is a breeze if your familiar with basic sequencing i.e. any modern drum machine (hardware sequencer). The manual is obviously not written by an American or speaker of English as first language. I paid someone $40 an hour a few times to figure out how to save properly.

Features: 8
32 voice polyphony, more than I ever use. Effects Expansion is separate but very cool. If your in to hip hop you'll love tweaking these effects(and when you hear a record using mpc effedts you'll know it!) Upgrade memory to 32 mb is a must, call akai for proper chip. 8 out expansion is good for recording. 32 midi channels, plenty. The sequencer and the intuitive pads makes this machine. I don't care how many people i hear raving about software sequencers, there is absolutely nothing like punching these pads, second to none!!

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10
No onboard instruments, its all on you! Sequencer is great for hip hop, jungle, you can really create anything you want on this baby! Velocity and aftertouch are great. My only complaint is... when you sample say a bass guitar, and you want to tune the pads so you can play a scale, sometimes the sequencer doesn't pick up the bass notes on every beat, almost like it wont record the entire performance, not to big a of a deal though

Reliability: 10
I love this machine, never had it crash!!

Customer Support: 10
Good custmer support! Can be hard to contact ive heard, but i've never had a problem.

Overall Rating: N/A
If your thinking about producing hip hop and don't mind finding sounds or buying a rack like a trinity or proteus, this is your machine, actually nothing really even comes close, maybe an sp 1200 but its expensive and has very little memory, if your a purist i suppose............the MPC is the absolute best, hands down!!!!!


Price Paid: US $1100 used

Ease of Use: 7
the manual is dry- and it took me a couple days to get the concepts of program, notes, etc. down. but this is my first sampler- so one would expect so much. the interface is very intuitive though- and you'll find the mpc 2000 to make great sense and be very flexible once you get it down. STICK WITH IT! presets? I got it used and it came with OK sounds. I would recommend surfing the net for sounds if you can. (I did a whole cd using drum sounds I downloaded and they're pretty good).

Features: 10
BE AWARE- the stock mpc 2000 does not have effects- it's got good expressive capabilities though. if you get the 8 out option you can use outboard gear to tweak indivdual voices (or you can just buy the effects upgrade you cheapskate). Also, if you expand the ram to 32 megs- you'll have enough room for a few tight kits and lots of synth/guitar/vocal hits. the midi programming is outstanding. and the sequencer is VERY in depth- meaning with time and pracice it's possible to created organic and complex beats like in R&B or good pop music. if you just want to sequence 4/4 house or dance there's other stuff out there (roland 808, 909, or the yamaha loop factory to name a few).

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
expressiveness in a sampler is like asking how meaty tofu is. and yet, the mpc 2000 is so complex it truly excells as an expressive tool in both studio and live settings. even the midi is involved. you can create a loop and turn voices and midi tracks on and off (great for live jamming)- or you can sequence out an entire song and use it as some sort of freakish karaoke machine. with some time spent in understanding how and why it works the way it works the mpc2000 becomes more then a computer- it becomes a musical instrument- no less an instrument then a guitar or piano.

Reliability: 10
I'd gig with it- and it's never failed me.

Customer Support: 6
akai is OK. at least they post os upgrades to fix old mistakes. they ought to offer better samples to download- those canned samples they charge an arm and a leg for aren't impressive to say the least.

Overall Rating: 9
I LOVE this drum machine. I wish there was a little more live tweaking capability but there's many ways around this. the sequencer is amazing. the mpc2000 is expensive- remember that. there's other gear out there. that said- for *creating* expressive beats and compositions with feel and depth I haven't seen anything better out there.


Price Paid: US $850 used

Ease of Use: 9
I am using software version 1.50, and the preset soundz are fine, not the best though. Patch editing is good and the manual is excellent.

Features: 9
The MPC2000 sequencer is a good one, I use the
MPC2000 sequencer as my main sequencer. I think
the MPC2000 best feature is the sequencer. I
could never get any samples that were inspiring
enough to make a good track, so I use the MPC2000
sequencer to drive my MC505 as a sound module. The
sequencer has definately given birth to hip hop
as we know it today, it feels like no other sequencer
can.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 8
Sounds can sound excellent on this machine, but for piano
chords I would rather play them myself rather than use samples,
that is more creative and expressive. If one does not connect a keyboard
to the Mpc2000 it is hard to play chords on the pads, but the pads are excellent
for laying down percursions.

Reliability: 9
it's reliable to me!! I find myself often depending on it to do what it
is designed to do without flaw.

Customer Support: 2
Never been in touch with them.

Overall Rating: 10
Hey, if you don't like this box them you just haven't put enough
time into it. If you know what this box can do you will never want
to go anywhere else for a sequencer, it tight(Step, edit,song, realtime erase,copy, paste.....).


Price Paid: US $1000 used

Ease of Use: 9
This is actually a review for the XL model. I D/L the latest OS (1.11) from akai's website. Everything is laid out in a simple manner. I was able to kick out a beat in 5 minutes w/out the manual. Just remember to hit "open window" on every field and you will find all the little things.

Features: 8
32 polyphony for a 64 track seq. isn't bad. 300,000 note seq capacity, time-stretch, re-sample, note variation slide, velocity sensitive....for more go to akaipro. Not much for efx, unless you buy the board; other expansions- smpte, 8 outs + digital i/o. What I really like about this machine is the real time and step record, time correct, and sample editing.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
this thing is great for all style's because you put the sounds in it.

Reliability: 7
Yup, she's crashed and froze on me. 98% of the time she is fine. Just remember to save your stuff at appropriate times.

Customer Support: 5
Free OS update's!!!!!! too bad the new os's are created (mostly) to fix bugs rather than add features.

Overall Rating: 8
Great machine, great control. Basically you get this empty palet to paint your pictures. Bring your own paint and colors and arrange, seq anything you can come up with.

If it were lost or stolen, I would buy it again.


Price Paid: 1200.00 (Canadian) used

Ease of Use: 8
I'm using v1.72 right now. Its pretty good. This thing is super simple to use. Plug away at it for a week and you should have it mastered. After all, it is just a sampler. Manual is easy to read but it sucks. The cool thing about this machine is that it is almost plug and play. Load in a kit, get your bassline and whatever else you want to use and your ready to sequence.

Features: 7
This machine is ideal for someone producing Hip-Hop, some simple House or Techno. Getting into things like Jungle where you're layering a lot of sounds the thing will start to act funny. Panning sounds, cutting them out and then there is the digital hiccup when you're using longer samples. I got this thing packed with ram and I'm still wanting more time. It is a good machine considering it's doing 3 jobs. Just keep that in mind when you want to make really complex and trippy music. I don't have the effects unit. Sucks anyways. But it is cool the options there. They should have included some simple effect features like delay.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 8
Sound you put in is the sound you get.

Reliability: 6
This machine is pretty dependable and live, it would be fun to use. That's it!!

Customer Support: 1
They suck. They're a bunch of clueless monkeys on crack!!!

Overall Rating: 5
If you can get this machine cheap....buy it. Otherwise go with the E-mu sampleers. Much better. More bang for the Buck!!


Price Paid: 1700 (AUS (which is cheap))

Ease of Use: 9
Currently using v 1.72. I found the MPC pretty easy to use. It took a while at first to figure but I've had it for a year now and I find it pretty straight forward. Editing samples on the little screen is a bit hard, although you can cancel one pad with another though which is great for getting tight sounds. The manual is fine, just very long but you would expect that with this machine. You can get a pdf of the manual from the full compass site, which I read before i bought it.

Features: 9
To get the most out of it you need the expanded ram (32Mb with sims) and an external scsi drive (I have an iomega zip 250 which has been fine). I have used it to to midi sequence with an external synth, which was fine, although I mostly sequence samples I create myself.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10
I use the MPC in an experimental band and I dont actually use it as a drum machine as such. I sample all kinds of crap on it ie. piano loops, noises, whatever. The MPC is part of our line up with drums, bass and vocals and we midi sync the MPC to a drum machine which plays a click through headphones to our drummer. The MPC seems to be traditonally a hip hop/ dance machine, but works really well in a rock band if you're prepared to work with it.

Reliability: 9
Others on the site have complained it crashes a lot. I've only had it crash once in a year, and it was just a matter of switching off and reloading. I've used it live a bit and it's fine. It would have to be better than a laptop at least.

Customer Support: 9
The akai site has downloadable sounds which are usually pretty good. Have not dealt with the support team directly.

Overall Rating: 9
It's definitetly worth it I feel. The main reasons I bought are that it's much more portable than a PC set up and it's a sampler/sequencer in a neat package. If it were lost or stolen I would most likely buy another one. I only really looked at the ensoniq ASR as another option, and the Roland SP808, which doesn't compare (dont be fooled by the D-beam). More ram capabilty would make it brilliant, but I'm really happy with it.

Price Paid: 2500 (nz dollar)

Ease of Use: 10
i'm currently using v.172. as awhole the thing is very easy to use. i've had it a few months now and i'm really fast on it.editig on the mpc isn'nt bad, the screen is small but you can zoom in on the waveform and make precise changes.the manual is pretty intimadating but on the whole easy to use.

Features: 8
the drum pads are totally wicked, pressure sensitive.they feel great and are very controllable.the filter isnt too great(the resonance sucks!)but it has full attack and decay also the drum pads can be turned into a 2 octave keyboard(kind of).the 64 track sequencer is o.k but not exactly mind blowing. there's no time stretcing and the effects board is expensive and shit.the output board(upgrade) is two small also.overall though you get a lot for your money, good sampler too.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 8
i find the mpc very easy and fun to play. its extremly inviting and easy to use. i personly use it for techno and it works well. it would be shit for drum n bass though.

Reliability: 4
the mpc is a good machine in general but it is very unreliable. its crashed on me at least once a month since i bought it.

Customer Support: 7
never dealt with akai but i've heard their unsupportive.you can free downloads from the akai web page though(sound disks and software updates)

Overall Rating: 9
its a wicked drum machine(the best) a decent sampler, not bad as a sequencer bad as an effects unit and diabolical reliablity wise.although it has some shortcomings(the os is a joke)the pros outway the cons.but it has a sound to die for.


Price Paid: US $1300

Ease of Use: 4
ONLY BUY THIS IF U R SERIOUS BOUT MAKIN BEATS
This thing has a pretty tough learning curve. If you understand how media software works, you'll have a head start. To make an actual song or beat you'll have many separate files; you'll have the actual sound files or samples, you'll have a PROGRAM file that controls how the sounds mix.FX and note assignment for your controller, and the MIDI file that remembers your sequence. And there's more... It would be nice if they could condense it a little more.

Once that's under your belt things get easier. Moving around is slow at first, but once you get used to it, its not too bad. The most common places you'll go use a "SHIFT+BUTTON", which is counter-intuitive. The display screen works pretty well, despite its small size its pretty ez to edit on. Everything is there, the manuals will help you out, but they don't work any miracles

Sound Quality: 9
Sounds great. I load samples from CD's, or Records. There are a few ways to tweak out sounds (doubling, filters, and pitch shifting) without FX that work cool. The pitch shifter sounds pretty good, you can adjust notes up and down probably about 5 or 6 steps before there is any digital mucking up. Sampling converters are pretty good too.

Reliability: 7
Depends on the media your storing your stuff on. ZIP disk are probably the best way. I've had a few corrupted files, but nothing disasterous.

Customer Support: 5
Upgrades are pretty EZ, you just pop in a floppy. It loads the "operating system" into its brain everytime you start up, so to upgrade the OS you use a new floppy with the new version. Haven't dealt with AKAI yet.

Overall Rating: 10
This is uncomparable to anything else out there, a one of a kind. Normally, it would take at least three pieces of gear, costing way more, to do what the MPC does. I don't know much about the MPC 3000 but I'm sure its the sh*t. There are better samplers out there, a PC with some MIDI software offers more flexible sequencing, and a drum pad setup is more natural to play on, but try getting it all in one box and it all working together seemlessly. I will say that this is the only drum machine you'll EVER NEED. Even though it doesn't boast a load of RAM (32 MAX), I have yet to even fill up half the memory even with songs that use samples for a majority of the music.

This is a producers dream, especially hip-hop, or r&b. You set your beat, add your loops, sync it with a digital recorder, put your vocals, live intruments. Need some obscure percussion or REAL strings? load up a sample CD. Edit and tune your samples, double them, tweak them. DJ Premier is a good example of a producer who uses the MPC to its potential, and created a unique style around what the MPC allows him to do. This is more than a piece of gear, its really an instrument.


Price Paid: US $2000

Ease of Use: 10
right now I am using version 1.72. This has got to be the easiest piece of equipment to use.. I strongly suggest if your just starting out, buy this piece. It is'nt very intimidating like a computer. The manual though very big to cover everything this beast does, is very informitive. This piece can be used by all levels of producers alike.

Features: 8
I give it an eight on the features because of the sampler. It could use an upgrade here. The sequencer on the mpc is awesome. I control my whole studio right from my mpc. The only thing I use my computer for is recording.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
You can load any sound you want in this hoss. So create sounds to your hearts content. This machine will do nothing but perform.

Reliability: 7
Don't leave it for extended periods of time. (i.e. 4-6hours) It gets a bit grumpy and starts to drop sequences or even drop sounds. so save quite frequently when working on big projects.

Customer Support: 9
Never had any problems with them

Overall Rating: 9
overall,this machine is a midi monster. Any midi application you can think of can be applied. Don't buy it for sampler though. I'm afraid you will be dissapointed. Buy it as a sequencer first. Drum machine second, and sampler last.


Price Paid: US $1200

Ease of Use: 10
I am using OS v1.72. The presets suck but who cares. If you want presets buy a keyboard workstation! Sampling is what the mpc is for and it does a great job. The thing is soo easy to use. A lot of people complain it is too complex, they must be dumb. I can lay down a track to amaze layman it 30 seconds, though a professional sounding sequence does take more effort in the various editing features. But that is what perfection is all about. If you can't get professional results from the MP, then the problem is with your talent: not the MPC.

Features: 9
There is nothing that I ever wanted to do (except time stretching) that the MPC, along with my yamaha CS1-x, could not do. period. Effects can be handeled my my synth during sampling. Sound crazy? to sample with effects and to get really good sample quality, use the shortest cords possible with gold plating.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
If you sample correctly, the sounds will sound EXACTLY the same out as they came in. Just be a perfectionist. Sometimes I make tracks (hip-hop is my game)and record an mp3 accapallo over it and tell my friends that it is a new remix. they are folled every time and they are very picky about beats-production quality.

Reliability: 8
I've had it lock up during saving once or twice and some times it refuses to trim samples. Also sometimes the RAM I added does not register. The ram was new and I installed it correctly(I am a computer tech)but still.

Customer Support: N/A
Never delt with akai.

Overall Rating: 10
You just cant get all these features for the price. It really helps, though, to have a synth to sample from. The after market sound disks all suck. period. they all sound low-fi and hissy. If it was stolen I would crap my pants then go on a mission. The Asr series is crappy. Just look at the thing, it looks like one of those Roland grove box things. The screen don't tell you s#*t! who cares if it comes with sounds. everyone who uses it for the preset sounds, there tracks will sound the same.


Price Paid: US $1200

Ease of Use: 7
I am using version 1.72. The MPC is definitely not the easiest piece of gear to learn. I lost my manual and have never bothered to get another one. Piece by piece I have picked up new tricks, and not having manual actually helped me to learn the MPC better. Not the easiest to learn, but once you do it really grows on you.

Features: 9
The MPC is a vital part of my setup. The features are definitely not up there with some of the rack mount samplers, but like all gear you must find the strenghts and characteristics that it has. Trust me, I found that the MPC has plenty and is definitely vital to my live setup. One main feature I would like is timestetching, but I do that on my computer and transfer it to the MPC anyways.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 8
The expresiveness of the MPC is something that has not really amazed me, but at the same time has never dissapointed me. The pads are okay, sometimes it is hard to play certain patterns, but there are ways around that.

Reliability: 8
The MPC has done some weird stuff sometimes, but for the most part it is very dependable. With electronic gear, you can never depend 100% on anything.

Customer Support: N/A

Overall Rating: 10
If it were lost or stolen, I think I would realize how important the MPC was to my setup. I have had it for two and a half years, and it grows on me more everyday. I can really start to jam with it now that I have two and half years of work saved up on it. Classic piece of gear.


Price Paid: US $1300

Ease of Use: 10
The mpc 2000 kicks ass. It is so easy to use, and no machine to date even begins to compare to it.
How do the presets sound? Who cares? If you use the presets you are lazy, and do not deserve to own a sampler.
Editing is easy, and the setup is very user friendly.

Features: 10
It has enough features to kill you if you if not taken in small doses!

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10
You can do anything with this sampler. The sounds that come out of this machine sound just as good as what went in.

Reliability: 9
It has some glitches but for the most part it is very dependable.

Customer Support: N/A
dont know

Overall Rating: 10
I am buying another as soon as possible(for live performances). I compared it to just about every sampler on the market, old and new, it is the ultimate.


Price Paid: US $2g new

Ease of Use: 7
I use v1.7 and it adds a lot of neat features, like muting tracks from the pads. the presets are crap. you have to get into this box. the manual is too thick and i don't read them. I used to do eveything on an Ensoniq eps 16+, but it took a nasty fall and i had to learn to make the 2000 work. I'd say two days of working with it and you'll know it basically front and back. (and this is coming off of an ensoniq o.s. which was extremely different

Features: 7
the sampler is great i can snatch your drums 80% of the time. if there's noise on the front or back you can clip it without clipping what u want it has a built in filter that works for basslines but not much else. i would definately recommend blowing it out to 32 meg so you can play around more. the sequencer is very 'music friendly' with all the sequences you can make alot of subtle changes and just switchc seq's. I wouldn't but the filters or the effects cuz they are crap

Expressiveness/Sounds: 4
no internal sounds and the disks it came with are again...crap. you can get good third party samples though. if you turn off the 'full level' and play vel sens the pads really feel and sound good. I love laying drums through a whole song

Reliability: 6
crashes. not all the time but it will. luckily i don't play out so when i'm in the studio i just have to reboot, not run out crying. save often. especially if you only have 2 megs

Customer Support: N/A
never dealt with akai

Overall Rating: 8
if it were stolen i would call the police and be heartbroken. once you get over the learning curve it's a very friendly machine... it just wants you to prove your loyalty by going through 'initiation'. I can get up at 3am and as soon as my amp is ready to rock so is the MPC just hit record... oh it's got tap tempo too so you can get that groove in your head down by syncing the clicks to your brain not your brain to the clicks


Price Paid: US $1000 used

Ease of Use: 5
I'm using OS version 1.72. I didn't get any preset sounds, for I bought it used. I found the thing to be good in some areas (such as the song mode and starting the thing up) and the rest of the setup on it was just plain dumb. Many necessary options that one uses often are found under a button called "open window" that you end up pressing all the time, but the giant display screen does not remind one of this. Sampling is sometimes difficult due to the gain and threshold settings and the fact that one has to adjust the time limit each time. The sequencer is ok in step mode, but in real-time it's a pain. It's only got 1/8 through 1/32 note quantization features (or off) and if you press solo and play something by itself, it won't stay on the same track if one moves to a track off-screen. That's a real bugger if your playing your sequences live and you wanna break it down to one track and then bring up another. And ya can't unmute two tracks at once.

Features: 4
32 note polyphony is decent. I've got the stripped down model with no extras such as effects. And I hear the effects are weak anyway. The machine is a "drum sampler/midi sequencer" so the midi section is decent when you can get it to work without crashing. I do feel, though, that it quantizes a little funny in real time, mostly in the 1/32 note, but others do like it. But don't ever try to use it as a phrase sampler unless you intend to build your tune around the sample. There's no timestretch option what-so-ever (the mpc 2000xl has it) and ya can't play piano or keyboard samples through a midi sequencer unless you make all twelve different notes worth, and that's only one octave worth. It does have a waveform display of your samples. This is nice if you record them at the right level, so one can see them. You can turn them up a minute bit, but not a whole tracks worth. I've inputed all my samples into the sequencer with "full level" button on, which places them all at 100. Even though you can turn up any track to 200, it doesn't do anything. The mixer is real confusing to use too (at least I found it to be). You don't turn up (I mean down. One can't turn them up unless they're already down, which is a real pain if just one sample is too soft.) individual tracks with it, yet you adjust the levels of the samples, according to their pads. Now, that's just weird.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 4
The might work well for what it says it does. (Right below the MPC2000 label on the top.) As a drum sampler/midi sequencer. It's clearly made for (by the features) this and only this. Don't even attempt to sample anything, but drums with it, or you will fail. Sounds? Only what you put into it and save to disk, cuz it looses all onboard memory when you turn off. (Not a big deal or uncommon.)

Reliability: 3
It crashes. Use backup.

Customer Support: N/A
Never dealt with.

Overall Rating: 3
If it got lost or stolen I'd be pissed cuz I paid a grand for it, and I would not buy a new one. I wanted a box that I could do all my sampling and sequencing with, but this is not it. I use more synth and keyboard samples than drums, so it's not what I need. I was worried about getting it, but the guy at the store said I got thirty days to return it, which I will. I've only had it for a week or so, but I've worked (or tried to work) with it a lot. I hope to get an ASR-X PRO with the money I get from this. That thing looks much better for what I need it for. This is frustrating and a giant pain to use, but when it doen't crash it's ok. But it's always gonna have a worthless sampler. It's only get for it's sequencer.


Price Paid: pounds 800

Ease of Use: 5
I am using OS1.72-the latest. This fixes some important bugs but also adds some, eg creating glitches in your samples. Overall the unit is pretty simple to use,

Features: 4
Pretty basic until you add the extra boards. The sequencer section is useless though!

Expressiveness/Sounds: 4
Uncoloured sound, as on other Akais. I suppose it's pretty good for sampling, but not very expressive as it is very basic compared to what it could be with some decent operating software for it. It is meant to have the same engine as the S2000 i think, but Akai have not implemented many of the important features eg timestretching.

Reliability: 3
Awful. The MPC is ridden with bugs, and Akai have announced that no future OS versions are planned (the MPC2000 development team is rumoured to have already split up. I would not take it out live, as it will garble your sequences, alter note durations, occassionaly mess up your samples etc. Until the latest OS, it couldn't even save midi files without messing them up.

Customer Support: 1
Akai are well known for bad support. All my emails were answered with ''phone the tech support line''-not very helpful. When I told them some of the problems, Akai said they ''did not know of any similar incidents'' wwhen in fact they knew it was down to bugs in the OS which are the same in every MPC. My advice is not to even bother with Akai for support.

Overall Rating: 1
Very dissapointed with this. I expected a rock solid sequencer I could use instead of a computer, but this is not possible due to the bugs in the machine. I am currently trying to sell it.


Price Paid: US $1700 now

Ease of Use: 6
Defently not something you can just turn on and it does your dishes and bakes you a cake right out of the box. Took a few days to start exploring into it and understanding whut was going on.... I went from a Sp-12turbo to this and made a few drum patterns in a few seconds
Sound is exactly whut goes in, no discoliration to the sound... this can be good/bad depending on your personal tastes
Editing samples is ok... I would say a pc is still my choice.... the screen is 2 small for me not to strain after a few hours of stairing at it

Features: 9
well you should know the fetures if not there is always akai's web site!
I added the efects... i find that I don't use them much... for the cash they are ok... I feel that I was some whut cheated because I was under the impression that it was a totoal 4 bus multiefex efect card it was 2 multi's and 2 reverbs
I need the 8 outs expansion so I can use my perfered box for efects
midi capabilitys are excelent... it's a midi seqencer.... pads feel great.... alot better than whut was on my old sp-12 and the ASR-X

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
like all akai's no coloration on sounds that you have brought in.. works for R&B, Rap, HipHop Like I said efex are decent... hard to justify the $350 cost with the low cost of outboard efx proccesors now
it makes music production easy

Reliability: 8
dependable sometimes looses parts of my seqences..... don't really know if it's the mpc or my 18th month old son who sometimes decides to visit me in my studio
I would say I would only use it in a gig if I had to... thats based on fears of distroyed/stolen eqipment

Customer Support: 7
I used to be able to ask akai via email all sorts of questions and had no problem it took them 2 weeks to awnser a simple question for a DR4d opp sys upgrade
but basicly they have done me good from that point

Overall Rating: 10
I would replace it with a akai Mpc of some sort I like the fact of loading *.wav so it would be a mpc-2000 or newer to replace it have used it since Feb of 98 I own a few synths and synth modulals, I always fire it up first and use it daily I compared it to a outdated but highly rated Emu sp-1200,and the new ASR-X As you can tell the Mpc standard got my cold hard cash
wish it had a few voices of multitibrial sample playback in the op sys....
It makes and I mean it does all of it and does it well for whut it is...
BTW I use it with a zip drive,ezflyer,cdrom,harddrive and has worked great besides one Rom drive didn't let me load sounds out of a B partision in a s3000 disk


Price Paid: US $1300

Ease of Use: 8
There definitely is a learning curve, but this is a box that does a lot of different kinds of things, so there's always going to be a little lag time in learning. It took me a few months to realize all the little hidden tricks involved with this sampler -- for example, I had no idea I could do Velocity->Filter Sweep until someone mentioned it on the Akai mailing list. Many items are hidden under menus that you can only get at by hitting 'Open Window' -- and there's no indication which menus allow you to hit 'Open Window' for more options.
Otherwise, it is a menu-driven sampler, some cute little icons. The manual was pretty good, you can download it yourself if you want to check it out on Akai's site.
I'm using OS 1.5, the newest.

Features: 8
The sequencer absolutely rules. I bought this box because I was sick of making music from my computer, and I needed something for live work and also just to take to rehearsals and what not. So what you can do is take a midi rack with you and have the MPC control the synth and its sampler. So I am using it as a Main Control Center if you will, controlling all my other gear.
For effects all it has built in is filter, resonance and velocity. But if you get the EB16 board (which I did), you get crazy effects; delay, distortion, modulations (rotating speaker, pitch shifting, etc...) I also run it through an off-line effects box, but that's my own taste. You can expand it otherwise with more memory (SIMMs, real cheap, up to 32MB), a SMPTE-lock card, or a multi-out & digital in.out card.
MIDI -- could be a bit better. The only way you can control IT from external midi (outside sequencer / computer) is MIDI note-on and off messages and velocity. That's it, no filter sweeps real time like the other akais. BUT - keep in mind that you do have a choice of what to get from Akai -- either this box, which is much less a STUDIO sampler and more a 'Performance' sampler, so you're not going to get a lot of that functionality. I've played with the S series boxes, and then I played with the MPC, and I decided that I wanted the MPC. I guess you could get a S-series and then buy an external sequencer, but this all-in-one deal of the MPC appeals to me.
But MIDI-out and its sequencer -- accepts everything, The sequencer has great resolution and does quantizing stuff and you can record looping measures, arrange them into songs, whatever. Can also import .MID files.
I like the buttons, they feel nice and are velo-sensitive.
The Samper part -- I like it. Not as easy to use as a computer doing it, so you're better off sampling stuff on your big-screen system and transferring it over (easy to do if you've got a zip drive, hook your computer on one end and the MPC on the other). Once you've got your samples in there, you can add effects to them individually and start composing. I've got it set up through the effects sends of my mixer so I can grab 'incidental music' as we're playing live. You've got to stop whatever sequence you're playing while doing anything else but playing samples (adding effects, changing midi channels, sampling..) and that kinda screws the improv factor up, but what are you going to do.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10
The "Akai" sound. As good as your samples. The effects are pure digital and work really well if you use them with restraint.
I use it for sound collage and electronic-type stuff.

Reliability: 8
I'm not going to call it 'rock solid' cause it has crashed on me (once) but that was before I got the new OS. The actual unit is a good weight and the buttons aren't going to fall off.

Customer Support: 7
People on the Akai discussion list talk about Akai as if they were the devil incarnate. I can see why -- they don't update their OSes too often and there are some great feautres that could be added to the MPC that are software based that they haven't yet (a better scsi implementation, time stretching, 'multitasking')
I wrote them once and asked them a question about SCSI transfers, got a reply within a day. Most of my questions were answered on the web or on the discussion group by other users.
Upgrades are on the web and are free to download, so are the manuals.

Overall Rating: 9
I've been without it for 4 weeks now (am away from home at the moment) and am going through serious withdrawal. I miss it so! It has this personality attached to it and I kinda like it. If it were lost (yikes! how could I _lose_ this?) I'd get real mad at first, then I'd settle down and get it again. But that would be after hemming and hawing about whether to buy an MPC or an S3000XL (studio sampler) with a sequencer for live stuff. Again, it's a tough decision.
But overall I am crazy happy that I own it and it's helped me a ton in my musics.
I've had it for 6 or 7 months, played with it live only 2 or 3 times I think, but I've used it for countless 'sessions' and my own just screwing around. It's a good tool to experiment with, just making stupid 4-bar loops and seeing what happens, playing with effects, muting tracks and then changing tempo real-time.
I'd be in heaven if it had: beat matching/time stretching and a good SCSI implementation. We can only wait for a new OS verison.


Price Paid: US $1100.00 used

Ease of Use: 8
Currently running v1.50, which is the first version worth using. You can download OS updates for free from the Akai web site - http:www.akai.com/akaipro/
You get 4 disks of sounds with the machine. They are ok, but nothing special. Remember that this machine is a decent sampler, and it can read .WAV files from a PC format disk... you can put any sound it it, and tweak it with very basic parameters (i.e. AR amp envelope, resonant filter, etc.). The manual is a little better than other japanese products on the market, but is somewhat obscure on basic operational guidelines. Not a good quick reference, but more of a take a few days to read it slowly type of thing. But in the MPC2000's defense, it is mostly very easy to figure out, and very useable right off the bat.

Features: 5
32 note polyphony, monotimbral (only responds to 1 or all channels). Great rubber pads for triggering sounds - they feel great, and work fairly well. They do get dirty easily. Pads produce aftertouch, which can be mapped to velocity using the note repeat function. Very handy for organic-sounding fills and rolls.
The effects option adds 4-buss effects - 2 reverb channels, and 2 multi-effects. The effects are serviceable, nothing completely amazing, but a good value for the price of the board (<>$320.00). No external control to speak of, but it does expand the capabilities of the MPC quite a bit. The effects only work with internal sounds - you are not able to process the inputs, like on Akai's other samplers.
Decent amount of options (flashROM, SMPTE, digital/multiple outs, effects) Uses standard (cheap) 72-pin mac-style simms, and standard SCSI HDs. Compatibility with PC-format drives is a big plus, since you can use your computer to format, organize, copy, and in case of emergencies, attempt to recover your MPC's drive.
The sequencer kicks ass. 64 tracks, 32 midi channels + 1 internal channel. 100,000 notes, reads standard midi files (type 1 and 0). Very flexible for live performance - you can create a very dynamic arrangement by selectively muting and unmuting tracks using the pads. Very easy to read display, even in pitch-dark clubs (mine is bright enought that I don't need any other lighting!).

Expressiveness/Sounds: 6
It's a sampler - you basically get out whatever you put in. You do have some basic dynamically-adjustable parameters (pitch, filter, sample start, sample crossfade).

Reliability: 10
Very dependable, and relatively solid, for a cheap pice of gear. I have used mine a lot in the last year, with absolutely no problems. I have not had a single crash since updating to OS 1.5.

Customer Support: 2
Akai - get your act together! I created the Protolab MPC2000 page in response to Akai's lackluster customer support.
Please visit:
http:www.protolab.com/akai.html
For MPC2000-related links, sounds, tips, tricks, and a user buglist.

Overall Rating: 8
This is my second MPC. I returned the first one out of frustration with the OS, and Akai's inability to answer basic questions, or to even acknowledge any problems. Six months later, they released a new OS, which was solid enough to convince me to buy another one for live performance.
It is an imperfect, but very useful piece - essential for live electronic music performance, but not that useful in the studio.
See for more info.


Price Paid: US $1300.00

Ease of Use: 5
I am currently using version 1.50 software. The sounds on the factory supplied are ok but you have to get your own to appreciate it. The editing is ok and the manual was well written

Expressiveness/Sounds: 6
It is good for what it does, however I think the R&D guys dropped the ball on the one I have. I have had a lot of trouble with the sequencer. If you use it for a sound source it can't be beat.

Reliability: 2
This pice of gear has not been reliable at all! it has crashed several times and the sequencer flakes out most of the time. I would never use it live without some other sequecer.

Customer Support: 3
I have dealt with the customer support however they were no help. My problem is that my unit would not sync to an Alesis BRC. These guys could not figure out the problem. the upgrade did not help either. When I finally figured it out, they told me that they would try and send me some sounds for helping them out and they faked on me.

Overall Rating: 1
If it were lost or stolen I would not but another 2000. I hear that the 3000 is mush better so I think that I would go with that one. I just hate the fact that the 2000 is not reliable.

Submitted by Anonymous at 01/15/1998 09:08
Price Paid: US $1400

Ease of Use: N/A
version1.5-love the functions. sometimes the unit freezes up.unit freeks out using paramiter copy.unit will not recognize my scsi zip.(zip works on my vs880)zip must be between the mpc and my jazz drive to be recognized.when jazz goes into sleep mode, mpc will not awake jazz.(have to eject &re-load) manual is ok.sequencing and sampling are great with this unit.i have 18 meg internal.

Reliability: 4
i worry about reliability of this unit for live.

Customer Support: 5

Overall Rating: 6


Price Paid: US $1200

Ease of Use: 10
I am running Software Version 1.5, which is the latest version. The machine comes with a few disks with preset sounds which are fair. The manual is excellent, a big improvement over the MPC 3000 manual. The manual seems to be written in english (although it is probably not) as opposed to other manuals which are obviously translated.

Features: 9
It has (I think, but you can verify at www.akai.com) 16 polyphony. The pads are pressure sensitive. It is expandable up to 32 Meg Ram. Has optional flash Rom. Has a great sequencer. Only come with a basic effects, but does have an optional FX card.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
I think it can work well with most types of music, but especially R&B, Hip Hop, Dance, etc. It has the same sound processor of the S2000, which is a pretty high quality sampler.

Reliability: 9
Based on my experience with this and other Akai samplers, I would say it is relaiable enough to not need a back-up (although if possible, a backup is never a bad idea).

Customer Support: 10
Customer support is EXCELLENT. I have dealt with other companies and have been on hold for 15-30 min +. All on my nickel. I have called Akai a couple of times with problems and each time I waited no more than three minutes! Once, while the technician was loading up the software load I had, he offered to call me back. Incredible.

Overall Rating: 10
I would definetly recommend this product.


Price Paid: N/A

Ease of Use: 8
It took a little time to get use to it but it was not that difficult.

Features: 9
check out the features on akia web site.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
the sampling quality is great. although to record in digital, the 8 outboard expander is must.

Reliability: N/A
I have only hade it for 1 month. no problems yet

Customer Support: N/A
i have not had to call yet.

Overall Rating: 10
i am very pleased with the unit.

Manufacturer URL www.akaipro.com
Ease of Use 7.9 (25 responses)
Features 7.8 (23 responses)
Sound Quality 9 (1 response)
Expressiveness/Sounds 7.9 (23 responses)
Reliability 7.1 (24 responses)
Customer Support 5.6 (18 responses)
Overall Rating 7.6 (25 responses)

Price Paid: 4000 (CHF)

Ease of Use: 8
OS 1.71


The presets don't sound because this machine comes empty. was advertised as being sold with a few Gigs of sounds but mine never had any.


Ease of use depends on whether you are used to midi and programming
samplers. If you are a newbie, there will be a steep learning curve but if you are already used to the mpc concept, then it will be a breeze. the only complaint is that not all the values are musical. Filter values etc are standard midi 0-127. My old emu had musical values like 20hz to 20000hz for filters etc. The manual is absolute $%^& and they havent' in 3 years even been able to update the manual with all the bug fixes' and new features.

Features: 6
Most of the features you need are there but they aren't all quality.
the effects are absolute $%^& and don't even come as standard. $%^& mainly because for things such as delays, they don't even sync to midi. if you are changing the tempo of a track live, the delays won't follow. same for the outputs. stereo outputs as standard and had to splash out money for the ten outputs. then also more money for digital spdif. this is useful if recording to say Pro Tools and your sound card has spdif digital ins and ensures a clean signal path. The os isn't even complete. all updates have mainly been bug fix's and we are still waiting for some of the advertised features that were marketed when it first came out. There's plenty of midi in's and outs although some of the internal routing is a bit $%^&. the q links are great but would be greater if you could route them to a specific midi port and track, cause at the moment you can only control the external instrument track which is in the main window. not useful for live external control but usable if you are recording cc messages one track at a time in the main window. the sequencer is real tight, and the groove is killer. this is the only reason I am keeping this because I prefer the E-mu effects and the e-mu sound. for me the filters are a bit harsh and lack that umph that's present in the E-mu sampler. I would love an mpc sequecer with e-mu engine which is what I do a lot of the time by using my e-mu sampler as an external extension to the z8 engine.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 8
Sound is on the hole pretty good although like I said earlier, I still prefer that e-mu sound. I produce electro and techno so filters
are important to me and that's where akai are a bit under par.


The sequencer is expressive and the 16 pad velocity and pitch option
really pump. if you want dance music, this is it. It's what you put in that makes what comes out so if you are a good sample program
maker or have good sample cd's then the sound shines. especially 24bit/96khz sample rate the highs are really sweet.

Reliability: 6
It's been buggy from day one and there's too many work arounds for
a flagship program. I still get weird error messages and quirks like
my mute recordings don't work in song mode and when converting a
song back into a single sequence, things go pair shaped.
AkSys doesn't work since I upgraded to mac os tiger so I'm doing without at the moment.

Customer Support: 1
The worst I've ever seen. Been waiting for 5 months just for a response about mute recordings not working in song mode and no one
has been able to answer.
Sent douzens and douzens of mails to akai support and haven't had
a single answer, which is why I will never buy akai again. they don't care about their customers.


Compare that company to elektron (small tiny sweedish company) who have always managed to answer within an hour and you've got the answer about customer support, they are worthless

Overall Rating: 6
I can't live with it and can't live without it. it's just that I don't like to support a company that don't support their users.
I love the sequencing engine, love the live feel but can't stand
the bugs and workarounds and can't stand the silence. Akai Support
has been spallowed by a black hole and they can stay there for all
I care.


I will never support akai again.

Submitted by deaf mute at 02/16/2006 03:06
Price Paid: US $2800

Ease of Use: 10
1.71 Editing with the Mpc4k is a breeze, You can use fx effects(robot,swell,distortion and etc.) ,You can edited the sample to be shorter or extended the sample to be longer without losing it's pitch,You can increase the level of the sample by editing or decrese it,You can change the bits of the sample to 24 , 16 ,12 or 8. There are no presets sound ,what you put in is what you get out , very clean with a big sound though. You can edited a sample( one short piano note to a loop creating effect with a constant sustaing that sample note to play long chord's across a midi-keyboard creating a live sounding piano. I can go on and on. The best Mpc. ever made.

Features: 10
This is 64 polyphony sampler ,Built like a tank .I use this beauty without a computer (aksys system) Proberly I will incorperate mpc 4k with a cmputer software in the future . The good thing is Akai made it where you can use a computer or without. The midi capabilities are straight forward tight as a button. The sequencer is very easy user friendly,This baby produce's hit's man. Very professional. Industry standard. Most People bought it early and was use to the early Mpc's and quickly complained about this one, But it is very flexible , it has 4 midi out's 2 midi in's. Pressure senstive pads and speaks to all systems(wav. format) You can sample from an extenal device or you can sample through from the mp4k internally. Meaning you can resample a sample , after you have added effects and reshape it. You can also sample your owned song (sequences) save it to a wav. formatt and imported to another system that reads wav.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10
Sound? mmmmmm where do I begin other than fabulous. Let just say Big big and clean clean,very thick punchy sound for drums(espcially kick drums or bright snare or bells and toms,crashes) and very relistic clean sounds (piano,bass guitar, human voices) for keyboards 24 or 16 bit . This baby cuts through all mix's. If you want that big full sound look no futher. You can sample something from an old record and eliminate all the snow(static,poping noise) to where it is clean. The onboard effects are as good as you apply it If you want something different you can use an external device. Effects? You can slice and dice your sample in many pc's to play the slice pc's seperately on your touch senstive pads with one stroke.To many things to mention.It can slave to midi very well also being able to create program changes with in thec Mp4k meaning your can assign different program changes ex. midi ch.1 drums , midi ch. 2 keyboard sound to be controlled from mp4k by a master controller.

Reliability: 10
Never had a crash I would use this in all applications, live show and etc, But it was really made for a Proffessional recording instrument as apart as your gear for the recording studio. Don't get me wrong you can use it as an instrument for your gigs. but mainly I keep this baby im my Home studio ,covered and fixed. Put it this way, If it was stolen today I would get another one today or the nextday. This machine if use correctly is unimaginable,it can create success,maybe create to many aspiring stars (laugh)

Customer Support: 10
Never needed them , But I sometimes go to websites to learn more info about it. Sean at akaipro durring the time I had purchase my mpc 4k(2003) was very helpful. as far as learning more in detailed usage of this machine.

Overall Rating: 10
In closing I will say overall rating A+++, have no quarms with this machine,I have used the mpc 60,2000,2000xl and 3000 and other types of samplers and drum machines and this one is by far the best of them all. The learning curve is expected, but for all those who are afraid of change, don't be fooled by "Hear Say" I own one and can tell you first hand this machine is incrediable sounding and has user friendly abilties. You can store ton's of samples and programs upon your command to the hard drive space or save all your creations on a cd( in folders), which can be pulled up just the way you created on command, no lost data.( song mode, sequences, song set-up with all drum sounds and programs midi connections and etc). Mv 8000? what you think, they tried to copy from the orginal, Man (laugh)

Submitted by Bridge at 12/06/2005 11:43
Price Paid: US $1950 used

Ease of Use: 9
OS 1.71
Its straight forward, considering the complexity of what it does, sampling, sequencing, editing sequences, mixing tracks. A big plus is lots of dedicated buttons to take you to pages. A big screen GUI with lots of info on each page, soft-buttons so the menus are laid out visually, much better than the MPC2000 or Emu MP-7 with its 2 line display.
Aksys makes transfer of samples from computer very easy, huge advance over earlier MPCs
Its a sampler so no real presets.
Manual and reference guide are easy to follow, quite comprehensive in my opinion.

Features: 10
For me this gets me away from looking at a computer screen and I spend more time listening to the music, .....well, the sounds I make. Its a psychological thing hard to explain.
It feels self contained, with drum and instrument programs you can use this and nothing else - take it away with you to the countryside, to a friends, to a party, ok you may need a midi keyboard as well to play the instruments.
Tight midi timing for drums, I never found a computer sequencer/midi setup that could do satisfying drum tracks
And as a bonus a fully fleged sampler, I sold my S6000 after I bought this.
AkSys transfer samples from computer how convenient and easy sold all my SCSI cards, ZIP drives, so straight forward.
4 midi outs so you can drive quite a few devices with good use of midi through
Sequencer - great, step time, real time, for drums theres grid, editing more convoluted than computer sequencer, but what do you expect?


Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
Sounds like what you put into it
Suits pattern based music, but you can define patterns very broadly so you could even do ambient/drone/nonmusic
But seems aimed at beat driven music obviously
Not really for sound designers -EMU samplers better for creative mangling, but with Aksys just do it in your computer and export.

Reliability: 10
Looks and feels very solid. Old Akai samplers are still all over the place, 15 years down the track I feel this will still be there, and theres not many bits of gear I am that confident about.
16 Drum Pads are very very solid, I dont feel afraid to hit them in case I wear out this machine, cant say the same for my EMU PX-7 Im afraid but maybe the comparison is unfair because this is priced about 5 times as much as the PX-7 - you get what you pay for.
No issues to date and Ive had it for 6 months.

Customer Support: N/A
Very few companies these days give personalised service I can name one who has TfPro - Ted Fletcher with his compressor, hmm thats it sorry if Ive missed anyone who was incredibly kind and helpful.

Overall Rating: 10
Just great. I used to have a MPC2000XL - great timing and rock solid but I sold it because I couldnt get productive with it. Id spend so much time fiddling around to get my samples and programs right, and then editing the sequences - arghh - The 4000 is more friendly and usable and self contained with the full sampler and USB computer integration, internal hard drive, big GUI screen.
I would buy it again, but only at second hand prices, wait a minute I only ever buy gear at second hand prices. Ive waited years for this to come down in price and for the bugs to be sorted out.
It definately helps me to make music.
I own lots of synths mostly and have a bit of a thing for sound design, this has opened up the world of beats for me again since I sold my MPC2000XL a couple of years back.

Submitted by bule at 08/13/2005 19:40
Price Paid: US $3000.00

Ease of Use: 5
OS 1.71
I've been using the 4K for over 2 years now.
It's a full featured deep sampler with great specs but there is alot of information to learn to know ths machine in and out.
Manual is ok at best.

Features: 10
EFX are ok........ some of the time. My unit has the 8 outs and the word clock/SPDIF option. Get the 8 output card, all balanced ouputs.
Sequencer is solid and on par with th 3K IMHO. I love the MSB-LSB window for quick bank changes. MPC's have always had great sequencers.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10
I've used every MPC made and IMHO the 4K is the best sounding MPC. I still love the 3K's thickness but the 4K is clean and big sounding.
The ablity of the 4K to be a full sampler allowing multi layered samples is a big plus. You can load a 256MB Grand Piano and go to town.
This is Electronic music making at it's best.
Skip all the Reason, soft synth working with a mouse trying to make music and get into playing an MPC, your music will thank you.

Reliability: 9
With the new OS's the machine is solid and never crashes.
I use mine for studio use only but it has gone to NY with me, just get yourself a nice case.

Customer Support: 1
AKAI makes great gear but they suck ass at customer support.
Goto yahoo groups and find the 2 MPC 4000 groups, that's the best support there is.

Overall Rating: 10
Mine was stolen and I did replace it,lol, I guess that says it all.

Submitted by Thearapy Bros. at 04/19/2005 07:29
Price Paid: US $1600

Ease of Use: 9
Version 1.60 Beta


The presets are ok, but like the previous revies say--who needs 'em? The only thing that takes down from me giving this are a 10 is the manual, it SUCKS. The downloadable reference manual however (www.akaipro.com) is far better than Akai's excuse for a manual.

Features: 9
The FX aren't what you bought this unit for because Akai's notorious for having crappy effects, but one or two are usable. They fixed the annoying fx bug and so far, this unit is almost perfect. The pressure sensitive pads are a blast to use and the sequencer is NICE. The new pad mixer is a great feature and saves time when trying to master tracks.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10
The unit sounds great and at 24/96 you can't find a better MPC for the money.


Basically, what you put into it, is what you get out of it. The unit works great for Hip-hop/Electronica, but could be used to create other kinds of music.

Reliability: 10
I haven't experienced the hardware crashed like a few of the people on here, but I could be fortunate. With 1.60, I haven't had a problem thus far. As far a gig-ing goes, I never use a backup and always use this as my main powerhouse.

Customer Support: 9
Dealing directly with Akai isn't the greatest way to go about trying to get help.


BUT


Visiting the various message boards where Akai employees can be found such as the DPS24 boards (link can be found under the Support section at Akaipro.com) or the Yahoo Groups board are definitely the way to go.

Overall Rating: 9
If this piece got lost or stolen, I'd definitely want to buy it again. The past horror stories with this machine are eliminated with OS 1.60 and is worth the money I paid.


I've had this machine for almost a year now and love every minute I spend with it. I own a few pieces of gear: Event TR-6 Monitors, Digi001, Fender American Strat, Mackie CR-1604, Technics 1200 MK2's, Allen and Heath Xone:02, and a Yamaha PSR-400 as a midi controller. I also own various VST and RTA plugins so the FX issue is really not that big of a problem.


This unit is commonly compared to the new Roland MV-8000, and in my opinion is a totally different machine from the MV. If I had the time to relearn a brand new machine with the detail of how I know my 4000 now, I'd look into the MV. Not to say that it's a bad machine, I just don't have the time to learn it like I did my 4000. The new OS is the answer to alot of prayers on this and many other sites where the 4000 is reviewed, and almost corrects all of Akai's wrongs with this machine (except for the fact that it's 2 years late, but at least we got the features we wanted like...audition from hd).


I wish Akai would work with a company known for their effects and just rewrite brand new code for this area. Granted, some FX are usable but at this price they should ALL be usable.


This piece is a great way to lay down your foundation with and is my go-to machine for any idea that I have.


Download the new beta OS on the international site, and you'll be suprised at the new functionality of this piece.

Submitted by Descry at 06/28/2004 01:06
Price Paid: US $1700

Ease of Use: 10
This machine is easy to use. I started using it without looking at a manual. I was able to lay down a sequence in no time.

Features: 10
First off, the FX suck. It just seems hard to get a good sound out of them. I can sometimes use the reverb, but only in very SMALL amounts. It has 8 analog out and ADAT. I'm planning on getting the ADAT expansion. When you buy a new MPC you get the digital spdif and wordclock standard now. The pads are good. At first I had to break them in though. They would skip. Even now I don't think they are quite sensitive enough. The ability to use ak.sys allows me to connect the USB to my computer. This is awesome!!! I can edit samples on the computer and send it over to the MPC. It expands up to 512MB!! I never load it up to that much memory. Most drum samples are very small on the order of less than 100kb.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 9
The punchiness of the percussion sounds is great. Not nearly expressive and warm as my E5000 and ASR-10. Like I said before....FX suck. The pads, again are great. This machine is definitely made for electronic/hip-hop music. If you tried making rock music I'm positive it would suck.

Reliability: 10
The main reason I wrote this review is there are no recent reviews. Since the last review on this machine there is a new OS version...1.51. This OS has fixed all the major problems. I have only had it crash on me twice. I find it very dependable.

Customer Support: N/A
I have only had to contact customer support and I think it went through the distributor. They did not include a power cable for my CD-ROM drive and they sent me one under waranty...no problem. Overall though...the akai customer support is suppossed to be very bad.

Overall Rating: 10
This thing is a blast to use. I was primarily using my computer for sequencing my E5000 and ASR-X before I got the MPC. I like using the MPC because I don't need to rely on the computer at all. I was able to buy the LE model so I added my own hard drive, CD-ROM and RAM. They don't sell it this way anymore. It's too bad because it was a much better deal to put the stuff in yourself. They are working on auditioning sounds from disks which will be very cool. I have been making music with my computer since about 98. I started playing bass back in 94/95.

Submitted by aaron at 06/23/2004 14:04
Price Paid: 2800 (euro)

Ease of Use: N/A
It would be easy to use if it wouldnt crash all the time. I lost all data twice, that has a big psychological impact. I dont trust this machine anymore

Features: 6
The features are just nice. THe pads have a great feel, good ergonomicaly designed user interface. The outputs 4 midi outs are just great. Although the discdrive got stuck a couple of time, this stuff shouldnt happen to a 2800euro machine. The features are as they should be for the price. I was also dissapointed when i found out that with 96khz the amount of voices dropped from 64 to 32.

Expressiveness/Sounds: N/A
The Z sample engine is one of the best engines out there at the moment. With 24bit and 96khz it is ready for the future. It looks like more and more sample cd,s are 24bits. Stuff like Saggitan orchestral and Wizoo Platinum, will run great on this machine.
THe sound of this mother is the best ive ever heard, its so thight, it just cuts its way trough the mix. But still, its just a sampler, and basicaly what you put into it, youl get out of it.